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Blackberry wine not fermenting

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rowlettr

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I have made up a batch of blackberry wine must that does not seem to be fermenting.

My recipe is from Midwest Supply:
6 lbs fresh blackberries
7 pts spring water
2 1/4 lb cane sugar
1/2 tsp acid blend
1/2 tsp pectic enzyme
1 tsp yeast nutrient
1 campden tablet (crushed)
1 pkg yeast (Lalvin 71B-1122)

I sanitized everything first.
I heated the water and added the ingredients, except the yeast. I crushed the blackberries, put the pulp in a nylon bag, and let it all sit in my primary for 24 hrs, covered with a cloth. The room temperature is about 75 degrees.
I then added the yeast and covered again. After 5 days it is not foaming and the pulp bag is not floating.

I have another batch of grape wine must that I started the same day. It is foaming and that bag is floating.

I do not have a hydrometer but I have one ordered. Should I add more yeast to my BB wine must or wait until I get the hydrometer? I don' know how long my BB wine must will stay good if I do nothing.

Thanks :?
 

Tom

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1st you may not see foam. put your ear to it and listen. Also leave the lid adjar (not airlocked). Wait till you get the hydrometer. Then get back.
Hydrometer is the most important tool in winemaking.
 

winemaker_3352

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I agree - you may not see foam - that doesn't mean it isn't fermenting. Put your ear in the opening of the bucket - if you hear fizzing or what sounds like bees in the distance - then it is fermenting.

When you get your hydrometer take a reading - take another the next day and see if it dropped.
 

BobF

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Did you rehydrate your yeast or pitch dry? Maybe the water you used to rehydrate was too hot, killing the yeast.

It's also possible that the temp diff between yeast and must was high enough to stun the yeast.
 

rowlettr

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I rehydrated the yeast by disolving it in room temp water and let sit for 15 min. It had started foaming before I put it in the must. I used 2 packages and mixed it all together, then put some in the blackberry and some in the grape (I have 5 gal of grape must). The must had been sitting for 24 hrs, so it was room temp also. As I said, the grape must is foaming and the bag is floating, so the yeast is the same for both batches.
 
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rowlettr

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Now I am really confused! My hydrometer just arrived. It is a
Tripple Scale Wine & Beer Hydrometer #6803 from brew-n-grow on eBay.
I sanitized it and tried it out:

In my blackberry wine must reads 1.000 on the SG scale, which is 0 on the sugar and potential alcohol scales. (It barely is visible above the liquid).
I tried it with just plain water and got the same reading.
I tried it with my grape wine must that is foaming, etc, and it rides even lower in the liquid, about .99.
I don't think this looks right. Could I have a defective hydrometer? The hydrometer is calibrated at 50 degrees, but according to the temperature correction tabll that came with it, at 77 degrees it calls for a 2.5 addition. That yields a reading of 1.0025, which still seems off to me.
What do you think?
 
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rowlettr

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Now I am really confused! My hydrometer just arrived. It is a
Tripple Scale Wine & Beer Hydrometer #6803 from brew-n-grow on eBay.
I sanitized it and tried it out:

In my blackberry wine must reads 1.000 on the SG scale, which is 0 on the sugar and potential alcohol scales. (It barely is visible above the liquid).
I tried it with just plain water and got the same reading.
I tried it with my grape wine must that is foaming, etc, and it rides even lower in the liquid, about .99.
I don't think this looks right. Could I have a defective hydrometer? The hydrometer is calibrated at 50 degrees, but according to the temperature correction tabll that came with it, at 77 degrees it calls for a 2.5 addition. That yields a reading of 1.0025, which still seems off to me.
What do you think?
Well, it is two days later, and with no suggestions from anybody or help with my initial reading of the hydrometer, I had to do something. I decided that the hydrometer must be correct and that the sugar must be all gone. I racked everything into carboys. I put airlocks on them, but have not seen any bubbles.
If anyone reads this, would someone tell me if there is a way to measure the presence of alcohol in my wine? I think I understand that one can use a hydrometer before fermentation begins, and compare it to after fermentation and surmise what I have surmised, but if I did not do that, then how can I tell about the alcohol content at any given point in time?
Thanks for any help you can give.
 

pwrose

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I would say that you BB has finished, albeit a little misleading that you never had it appear to be fermenting.

As far as telling the ABV% I dont know how to test that after it has fermented out without knowing the SG readings before and after. I am sure there is a way but the more experienced ones will have to tell you that answer.
 

cpfan

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rowlettr:

Sounds like both are finished or almost finished. No problem, as they say.

If they are still in a pail/primary with a fair amount of headspace, move to carboys/jugs with air-locks and a minimum of head space. Leave for a couple of weeks to finish fermenting.

Steve
 

Wade E

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Eityer that or what you have is a alchometer. Can you post a picture of the hydrometer. I was sold one of these when I first started out which realy throws you a curve ball like you have here. I highly doubt that your grape wine is foaming and also be that low of an sg, is it possible yes but not likely. Take a taste of that Blackberry, can you taste alc in it or is it still very sweet?
 

rowlettr

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Eityer that or what you have is a alchometer. Can you post a picture of the hydrometer. I was sold one of these when I first started out which realy throws you a curve ball like you have here. I highly doubt that your grape wine is foaming and also be that low of an sg, is it possible yes but not likely. Take a taste of that Blackberry, can you taste alc in it or is it still very sweet?
I tasted it when I racked and it is tart with a yeast smell, not sweet. After a day in the carboy, it has settled out well.
Question: If I am limited in the number of carboys I have, is it OK if I rack again into an intermediate container, clean my carboy, then transfer back into the carboy?
 

countrygirl

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I tasted it when I racked and it is tart with a yeast smell, not sweet. After a day in the carboy, it has settled out well.
Question: If I am limited in the number of carboys I have, is it OK if I rack again into an intermediate container, clean my carboy, then transfer back into the carboy?
that's what i did to my peach...worked fine.
 

rowlettr

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Well, it is two days later, and with no suggestions from anybody or help with my initial reading of the hydrometer, I had to do something. I decided that the hydrometer must be correct and that the sugar must be all gone. I racked everything into carboys. I put airlocks on them, but have not seen any bubbles.
If anyone reads this, would someone tell me if there is a way to measure the presence of alcohol in my wine? I think I understand that one can use a hydrometer before fermentation begins, and compare it to after fermentation and surmise what I have surmised, but if I did not do that, then how can I tell about the alcohol content at any given point in time?
Thanks for any help you can give.
When I rack again, I expect I will lose some volume. I guess I could add water to bring it back to the full mark on the carboy. I have some blackberry juice that I pressure canned. Can I add it to the wine mix instead of water?
 

Tom

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When I rack again, I expect I will lose some volume. I guess I could add water to bring it back to the full mark on the carboy. I have some blackberry juice that I pressure canned. Can I add it to the wine mix instead of water?
No, it will just ferment out
save it for a f-pac.
after you stabilize it you can add a f-pac and backsweeten this will bring your volume up.
You will lose a fair ant just in clearing.
 

rowlettr

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No, it will just ferment out
save it for a f-pac.
after you stabilize it you can add a f-pac and backsweeten this will bring your volume up.
You will lose a fair ant just in clearing.
Could you suggest where I could read up on f-packs? I did find one site that said to simmer juice down to half original volume, then add to the wine after it stabilizes. Is there more to it than that?
 

rowlettr

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No, it will just ferment out
save it for a f-pac.
after you stabilize it you can add a f-pac and backsweeten this will bring your volume up.
You will lose a fair ant just in clearing.
Why would it be a problem for it to ferment out? Wouldn't that just give me more wine? It seems that would be better than adding water? I really don't understand.
 

Tom

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:?
You talk about topping off, you talk about f-pacs you have not said that you stabilized. So, I stand by what I said. You have a small batch. You will never be able to keep it toped off. So, you need to keep it in smaller containers. I think you said you are making 2 gallons. you be lucky to get 8 bottles because fruit wines throw alot of sediment..
Did you stabilize?
 

rowlettr

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No, it will just ferment out
save it for a f-pac.
after you stabilize it you can add a f-pac and backsweeten this will bring your volume up.
You will lose a fair ant just in clearing.
:?
You talk about topping off, you talk about f-pacs you have not said that you stabilized. So, I stand by what I said. You have a small batch. You will never be able to keep it toped off. So, you need to keep it in smaller containers. I think you said you are making 2 gallons. you be lucky to get 8 bottles because fruit wines throw alot of sediment..
Did you stabilize?
All I have done is rack from my primary into a carboy and put an air lock on. I don't see much activity, but the yeast may still be alive. The SG read below 1.00 when I racked. I asked about where to read up on F-packs because you mentioned that in your previlous reply. When you said "it will just ferment out", I thought you understood that my yeast was still alive.
I guess I am also trying to understand how to keep some "extra" must for topping off the carboy. I guess I could have some in a quart bottle and rig an air lock to keep it good? I don't plan to stabilize until it racks out clear. Does all this mean I can add some BB juice after all, and let it work off?
 

pwrose

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The point of the f-pak(flavor pack) is to add more fruit flavor back to the wine. If you add the juice before you stablize then it will ferment out and you will be in the same situation that you were in before you added it, with the addition of more alcohol. If you are shooting for a certain ABV then make the SG reading at the begining what you want your ABV to equal. Once you have that set and it is done fermenting then you stabilize and add the f-pak. This way you will have your target ABV and will add more flavor with the f-pak.

I think that it would be pointless to add the f-pak to just have it ferment out. You would loose what you were trying to add with the f-pak. Again a f-pak is for flavor addition not for fermenting out. Unless you loose a whole lot of wine when you rack off the lees I would not worry about it too much until its done fermenting. If you want to top off after racking I would use some water and rack as few times as possible until its done. Then stablize it and top off with the f-pak.

Hopefully that makes it a little clearer.
Good luck with the BB, I have a 2.5 gallon batch that when it was done I added 1/2 gallon of blueberry juice for the f-pak and back sweetening. It tase like a "sex on the beach" drink.
 

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